Me Kuntz DOUALA MAMBINGO'A MOUTOME
1991 - 1996
Kuntz DOUALA MAMBINGO’A MOUTOME came on board at such a politically radical period. With the liberalisation of Cameroonian politics in the 1990s, pressure groups demanded changes. The Head of State, His Excellency President Paul BIYA, responded to the demands, and on the 18th of January 1996, Law No.96/06 enacted a new Constitution in Cameroon.
The Constitution was amended by increasing the number of articles from 39 to 69. It was actually modified in December 1995 before going into force in January 1996. The contributions of the then Minister of Justice Kuntz DOUALA MAMBINGO’A MOUTOME cannot be over emphasized. History fondly remembers the late DOUALA MOUTOME as the first Cameroonian Lawyer to defend his country in the legendary territorial and maritime case that fiercely pitted Cameroon to her Nigerian neighbour. The delegation he led to the International Court of Justice, over the renowned Bakassi land dispute, included Professors Maurice KAMTO and Alain PELLET. The late Man of Law saw the light of day on the 28th of December 1943, in Yabassi, Littoral Region. He was bred in the Economic Capital of Cameroon where his father, MAMBINGO’A MOUTOMÈ, was a civil servant. The young Kuntz DOUALA MAMBINGO’A MOUTOME did elementary studies in Sa’a, Obala and Douala. Secondary education took him to Lycée Général Leclerc Yaoundé, Lycée Joss Douala and St-Exupéry in France, where he obtained his Baccalaureat in 1963.
The ambitious Kuntz enrolled into the Faculty of Law of the Paris Institute of Judicial Studies, where he studied Law. Upon graduation, he worked temporarily in France before returning to his home country in 1971. 06 years later, that is, on the 15th of October 1977, Barrister MAMBINGO’A was admitted into the Bar Association of Cameroon. On the 26th of April 1991, he was appointed Minister of Justice, Keeper of the Seals.
In March 1993, Minister MOUTOME got wind of the fact that little or no attention was paid to trainee justice auditors who sought practical knowledge in Courts. A decree he signed to that effect shows that some trainee justice auditors were for the most part abandoned to themselves. He went on to request Heads of Courts and other concerned jurisdictions to take absolute responsibility, making sure that trainees were seated behind Magistrates during Court sessions. Also, in May 1993, he noted with dismay the fact that most of the cases in which decisions had been appealed reached the Registry of the Supreme Court scandalously late. He observed that certain appeals brought to the Registry of the Court had still not led to the transmission of a file to that Registry several years later. He would condemn the practice in strongest terms, outlining measures for subsequent ideal treatment of such.
Again, in April 1994, the Minister observed that some Courts of Appeal engaged in illegal practices wherein cases relating to defenses were heard in the Council Chamber. This practice not only aroused suspicion and recriminations on the part of the litigants, but circumvented provisions of Article 04 of Law No.72/4 of 26th August 1972, which created a civilian-style unitary system of courts to replace the different courts structure that operated before. To this end, Minister MOUTOME re-echoed the need for justice to be rendered publicly and decisions pronounced in public. He highlighted the fact that any Court could, ex officio or at the request of one or more parties, order in a specific case, the closed session for all or part of the proceedings, when its publicity appeared dangerous for the security of the State, public order or good morals.
Apart from being the Minister of Justice, Barrister Kuntz DOUALA MAMBIGO’A MOUTOME was the Chief of Bonangang, one of the 20 villages of the Akwa Chiefdom. He was known to be one of the most reliable Advisers to His Majesty DIN DIKA AKWA III. He also bade his time as the Vice-President of the National Commission of Human Rights and Freedoms of Cameroon. He passed away on the early hours of the 7th of October 2013, aged 75. He is the only Barrister to have occupied the post of Minister of Justice, Keeper of the Seals till date.